The alarm was raised shortly before 6pm when Humber Coastguard received a report of what was thought to be a person floating in the lower Tyne harbour near Tynemouth pier.
Reaching the scene just a minute after launching the inshore lifeboat, volunteer helm Jill Lee and crew member Pete Lennox were prepared for the worst, but when they located the ‘casualty’ they were amazed to discover it was a large cuddly toy leopard!
The big cat was quickly recovered from the water and taken back to the lifeboat station, seemingly none the worse for its experience.
The callout was put down to a false alarm with good intent, and we would always recommend that if anyone is unsure about a possible casualty in trouble at sea they should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Lifeboat: D-693 Mark Noble